Maui News

AARP Dashboard Shows Hawai‘i Nursing Home Death Rate Remains Lowest in Nation

February 22, 2021, 8:54 AM HST
* Updated February 22, 9:04 AM
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File photo courtesy.

The latest release of AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard shows nursing homes reported two COVID-19 deaths in Hawaiʻi from Dec. 21 to Jan. 17; however, the per capita death rate remained the lowest in the nation.

Hawaiʻi’s per capita nursing home death rate of .07 per 100 residents was the lowest in the nation last month. The national average was 1.95 COVID-19 deaths per 100 residents.

Hawaiʻi also had the lowest per-capita staff COVID-19 infections and deaths, with 25 confirmed COVID-19 infections among nursing home staff for a per-capita rate of .8 cases per 100 residents compared to the national average of 8.3 COVID-19 staff cases per 100 residents.

About 12.5 percent of Hawaiʻi’s nursing homes reported having COVID-19 outbreaks in the four-week period from Christmas week through Jan. 17, far below the national average of 56.7 percent of homes, according to AARP.

Since the outbreak began last year, less than half – about 44.2 percent – of Hawaiʻi’s nursing homes reported outbreaks, compared to the national average of 93.8 percent.

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The dashboard found that PPE shortages remain a persistent problem in Hawaiʻi’s nursing homes. Shortages of personal protective equipment declined slightly from the previous period ending Dec. 20 from from 26.8 percent of nursing homes without a one-week supply in December to 22.5 percent in January, significantly above the national average of shortages in 13.9 percent of nursing homes.

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Meanwhile, staffing shortages remain a concern with 25 percent of facilities reporting a shortage in the most recent dashboard, slightly below the national averge of 28.8 percent.

“The latest AARP Dashboard numbers coincide with the beginning of efforts to vaccinate nursing home staff and residents, so they likely do not show any reduction in cases because of the vaccination effort,” according to AARP.

“Our sympathies go out to the families of the two nursing home residents who died last month and to the other victims of the pandemic,” said Kealiʻi Lopez, the AARP Hawaiʻi state director. “Hawaiʻi has been fortunate that we have a high percentage of people wearing masks and that nursing home staff have been doing a good job in keeping the coronavirus out after a spike in infections and deaths in the late summer and early fall. During the four-week period ending Jan. 17 covered by the AARP Nursing Home dashboard, Hawaiʻi had the lowest positivity rate in the nation with 2.7 percent of tests positive for COVID-19.  We need to stay vigilant as we vaccinate kupuna and essential workers to keep our deaths, hospitalizations and cases low.”

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AARP Hawaiʻi has been working both nationally and locally to improve conditions in nursing homes and prevent unnecessary deaths. The organization has been working to urge state officials to enact or make permanent components of AARP’s five-point plan for long-term care facilities:

The AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard analyzes federally reported data in four-week periods going back to June 1, 2020. Using this data, the AARP Public Policy Institute, in collaboration with the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Ohio, created the dashboard to provide snapshots of the virus’ infiltration into nursing homes and impact on nursing home residents and staff, with the goal of identifying specific areas of concern at the national and state levels in a timely manner.

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